*Obligatory apology for delay goes here*
As much as it pains me to say, Natsume Shi has come to an end. Still, it’s better than to call it the ‘final episode’ because there’s been no official word on another season. But what this ending accomplished was by far the most conclusive, as if the staff at Brains Base were secretly implying that this is indeed the end.
The show ends on a rare three-parter, and it truly feels like this season accomplished the most out of all four seasons. This and last season’s San both emphasized Natsume’s change in personality from being quite distant towards his fellow human companions to a much more open (but not quite open in revealing his secret) and happier person. It’s been a gradual change for Natsume: while these two seasons have put much attention on Natsume personally, the show still delivers on the single episode heartwarming youkai stories that have become quite a pleasant thing to look forward to every week.
This episode did not disappoint: while the first part of this arc was pretty powerful, the last episode was more of a breather: right in the middle of two powerful and emotional episodes, yes this was by far the best ending for this series. Having Natsume finally visit his parents’ house brought a lot of emotions from me, and the production values kept on flexing its creative muscles, with a lot of abstract art and shadowing one expects to see from Shaft. Everything came together quite nicely, and I feel content that this could very well be the end. It’s sad to say that for a series that is my all-time favorite, but all
good great awesome fantastic amazing things must come to an end eventually. Four years and 52 episodes later, we’ve seen many heartwarming tales of the youkai and we’ve also seen episodes like these that put an emphasis on the human side of the story, the other side of the coin.
But never lose hope, because time and time again this series has surprised us. Whether it’s another season or something like the Hotarubi movie, anything of Yuki Midorikawa must seen an adaptation. Her storytelling is absolutely fantastic: the way she pays close attention to even the minute details is a trait not shared by many (only rivaled by Higuchi Asa’s precise baseball terminology and character backgrounds) and though her art is very shoujo, the real heart of her series is much more emotionally deep and fulfilling than many shoujo try to be. What this season accomplished is what last season’s San started: an intense character study on Natsume, which culminated in a beautiful finale that I will vividly remember for a long time.
Animation – 9/10 (A)
Story – 14/15 (A)
Characters – 18/20 (A-)
Sound – 9/10 (A-)
Enjoyment – 44/45 (A)
Total – 94/100